Maz Kanata's Castle Creature Guide //
Out of the many rewatchable scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the all too quick whip through Maz Kanata's castle might be the most worthy of multiple viewings. With a galaxy-ful of weird and wonderful new droids and aliens, it's a feast for the eyes that gives Jabba's palace and the Mos Eisley Cantina a good run for their money. Here's our favourites from Maz's motley bunch of patrons...
Strono "Cookie" Tuggs //
The cook in Maz's castle, Strono (an Artiodac) has been serving up his foodstuffs for centuries (you should try his baked cushnips with fral – delicious!) An even greater mystery than what ingredients he uses in his recipes is how a guy as imposing as him gets a cute nickname like "Cookie" - clearly behind that disfigured visage lies a heart o' gold.
Grummgar and Bazine Netal //
Here's a pair you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of: the sizable big game hunter and gun-for-hire Grummgar, and his female companion Bazine Netal – a nefarious bounty hunter and spy for the First Order. And forget your garden variety kung fu – Netal practices deadly martial arts learned at Delphi Kloda's combat school.
Captain Sidon Ithano //
A delphidian so cool that he comes with not one but three cool-as-deep-space nicknames: the Crimson Corsair, the Blood Buccaneer and the Red Raider. A pirate who also has his very own pegleg-having First Mate, Quiggold, Ithano cruises space looking for trouble in his modified freighter the Meson Martinet (again with the alliteration and cool names!).
In relatively good working order considering she's rumoured to be as ancient as the centuries-old Maz Kanata, this droid has served as both an assassin and, as legend has it, a servant to the Jedi Order. Also known as 'Emmie', the protocol droid proves a handy fixture in Maz's castle by acting as a translator when shady dealings are hashed out.
Pru Sweevant //
Equipped with a deadly blaster, Pru is small and blue and not to be trifled with. A Narquois bandit whose skin colour acts as camouflage in the blue fungus forests of his home planet Narq, Sweevant gets up to no good by finding out about vulnerable convoys thanks to his contacts within the Mining Guild.
Hassk Triplets //
Looking like fearsome feral space werewolves, the thuggish Hassk triplets are led by Varmik, the trio known to cause a bit of trouble in Maz's digs. Fans of Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie might find the look of the triplets familiar: they're based on 1975 concept designs for both a Cantina alien and an early version of Chewbacca.
James Jennings is a writer (the Australian edition of Rolling Stone, screenplays, various illegible handwritten notes), presenter and Star Wars nut whose unit is overrun with vintage Star Wars collectibles (much to his children's joy and partner's chagrin). He takes great joy in using his Han Solo in Carbonite bottle opener and can be found on Twitter @JJTron2000, Facebook or at www.jamesjennings.info